Scouts honor: Mattel swears by Barbie and that she's just fine for girls

03/12/14 by Rennie Detore



The Barbie Doll often is referred to as the "doll that started it all." She's taken on plenty of occupations in her 55 years, including teacher, astronaut, rock star, police officer and the CEO of her own company.
More recently, she's taken on a different role: lightning rod.
Yes, the doll that started it all has now ignited a firestorm of criticism from various advocate groups, including the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) and Center for New American Dream) in the direction of Mattel, the company that creates the Barbie Doll for mass distribution.

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In short, those knocking the Barbie Doll have argued that she is not a realistic or appropriate role model for young girls, and these same pundits have asked the Girl Scouts of America to discontinue their partnership with Barbie and, to some degree, Mattel.
The CCFC and Center for the New American Dream stand pat on their belief that Barbie and the Girl Scouts hardly is a match made in heaven, and undermines the character of the girls within the scouts program.
Simply put, they don't believe Barbie deserves a badge of honor of any kind.
The claims made by these aforementioned, righteous groups seem a bit displaced when you consider just how long the iconic Barbie toy has lined the shelves of stores, and that plenty of girls have owned, played with and enjoyed the eclectic line of Barbie Dolls for half of a century and turned out just fine as competent, self assured and confident adults.
The Girl Scouts of America finds itself feeling the same way, and has actually rallied around Barbie and Mattel, suggesting that they have no plans on ending a long standing partnership between the two organizations. The Girl Scouts of America cite Barbie as more inspiration than inflammatory or innocuous as far as how the doll is perceived by girls of an impressionable age.
Truthfully, Barbie is unjustly being cast as the only toy geared toward females that portrays beauty and flawless characteristics. Just because the Barbie Doll comes in a swimsuit along side "Ken" in board shorts doesn't mean she should be singled out as being suggestive.
The Disney brand might not be putting Belle, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in a bathing suit but doesn't mean that they also don't showcase impeccable features and renowned beauty with every doll produced.
If Barbie is too scantily clad for consumer advocate groups, then why stop there? Why don't we just suggest that The Little Mermaid and Jasmine show off too much skin for second graders?
Much like any toy, whether it is marketed toward a boy or a girl, the resounding rhetoric that should follow any discussion is the involvement of parents and how these types of products are consumed and, more importantly, explained.
Plenty of childhood boys have played with wrestling figures or G.I. Joe and don't immediately reach for a sleeper hold or automatic weapon, especially when mom and dad stand between junior and the explanation between real and make believe.
Groups with the CCFC and Center for the New American Dream deserve credit and praise for their mission statements and message that they're trying to cultivate with what they do day in and day out.
But to look at Barbie as a means to an end as far as how a younger, female generation is being influenced is lazy campaigning and picketing at an easy target: a toy that won't fight back.
Instead, the Girl Scouts of American and Mattel have no problem standing up for Barbie and her lineage and rallying behind a toy that is timeless in the face of a tired argument.
Chance are all this chicanery will subside, and Barbie won't bat even one of her perfectly placed eyelashes at just how inane and ill placed these allegations are.

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